Giessler, Richard Arthur
Rev. Richard Arthur “Dick” Giessler, 85, of Floyd, Virginia entered eternal life on February 28,2022, held by his wife, and his daughter in her Floyd home. Dick was born April 22,1936 in Akron Ohio to Frank Abraham Giessler and Dorothy Angelica (Hunsicker) Giessler. He was raised in Paulding, OH and Van Wert, OH.
Dick was a kind and compassionate humanitarian. He promoted peace and unity. He was someone who actively advocated and worked for human rights for all people. He stood up and spoke out for social, racial and environmental justice, and in a quiet, gentle way, built bridges amongst people.
Much of his social awareness was developed while the family lived in Paulding, OH where he attended is first 5 grades in a two room school house and had close friendships with the Mexican American and African Americans from their end of town.
He graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH and Hamma Divinity Seminary. He was ordained in 1963. After being a student pastor for a year at Holy Trinity in Bethlehem, PA, Dick served congregations in Springfield, OH; Park Hills, KY; College Lutheran Church in Salem, VA and lastly the Floyd-Willis Lutheran Parish.
During his time in Springfield, Dick and his family provided housing for Betty, an African-American high school student from Alabama, in order for her to attend the all white High School in the county. Dick helped launch the first interfaith prayer services during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. He spoke at various inter-faith worship services. He began a radio program with a Catholic Priest and Jewish Rabbi and the three of them discussed the meanings of about 15 religious holidays throughout the year. Dick helped form the Greater Cincinnati Inter-Faith Commission.
While living in Kentucky, he was instrumental in organizing the Northern Kentucky Society for Better Housing. This organization (four Catholic and five Protestant churches) bought and converted two large apartment buildings in downtown Covington into a 24 apartment complex as housing for low-income people. They named the complex “Giessler Gardens”. Rev. Giessler was named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of KY to recognize his powerful work with the NAACP to promote fair housing.
Dick never was in the armed services. Rather than volunteering, he protested the Vietnam War and was once arrested at a demonstration.
In Salem, VA while serving College Lutheran Church for 16 years and where his children grew up and finished high school, Dick preached and taught the gospel of love, encouraged racial integration, peace, and supported the “war” on poverty, social issues that divided brothers and sisters in most denominations.
During his early years in Floyd County (Late 1980s) Dick was the chairman of the local Red Cross monthly blood drive. He worked a short time for Crenshaw Lighting, then sold insurance and investment products through Lutheran Brotherhood, now known as Thrivent Financial Services. In 1999, he and his wife Diane began providing 24/7 care for adults with developmental disabilities. He also worked as a teacher’s assistant at Floyd County High School where he made a significant difference in the lives of many students in need of a mentor. A dream fulfilled was the construction of a solar powered log home in the woods of Floyd County, surrounded by a close-knit community and gentle west breezes.
Dick was an avid stamp collector and a Life Member in the American Philatelic Society. His love and knowledge of stamps led him to become an astute historian. Dick was a member of the Floyd County Historical Society as well as a member of the Big Lick Stamp Club of Roanoke, VA.
Dick enjoyed playing golf, hiking, camping and was passionate about books both rare and classic. He also loved the theatre and was active in performance with the Floyd Theater Group and the Zion Players.
He and Diane were fortunate that they traveled to Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, St. Martin, St. Lucia, St. Croix and Puerto Rico as well as Papua New Guinea.
Dick is preceded in death by his parents Frank Abraham Giessler and Dorothy Angelica (Hunsicker) Giessler; brother Frank “Joseph” Giessler; former wife Jane Hamilton (Greer) Hill; and adopted son Edwin Rohrbaugh.
Dick is survived by his wife of 34 years, Diane Sims (Jordan) Giessler; daughter Lora Leigh Giessler of Floyd and her sons, Dylan Richard Weiss, Clay William Weiss and Nathan Greer Weiss; son Michael Paul Giessler of Roanoke, VA and his daughter Gabriela Sophia Giessler-Hernandez of San Juan, Puerto Rico; son David Hamilton Giessler and wife Dr. Azure Karli of Bend, OR and their sons Dane Fletcher Giessler and Van Grayson Giessler; adopted daughter Beth Rohrbaugh and her wife Polly Harman of Wilmington, NC; two step children, Glenn Jenkins and Katey Jenkins; and nieces Jennifer Giessler and JoEllen (Giessler) Weiss.
The family is deeply grateful to Good Samaritan Hospice for Dick’s end of life care.
Funeral arrangements can be found on Maberry Funeral Home’s website. A funeral service is planned for Saturday, April 2, 2022 at 3:00 pm at the Floyd Event Center, located at 188 EcoVillage Trail. There will be a reception at the Center following the service. If you would like to honor Dick, the family requests that in lieu of flowers you consider a donation to Zion Lutheran Church’s Community Care Fund. Mail donations to: Zion Lutheran Church, P O Box 37, Floyd, VA 24091.